The Graduate turns 50-years-old later this year, but the celebration is starting early. The blockbuster Mike Nichols movie, which was originally released on December 22, 1967, will return to theaters this month in honor of its 50th anniversary, according to Rolling Stone. The Graduate’s 4K restoration will debut at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on April 8 ahead of a larger roll-out later this month at 700 theaters across the country as part of TCM and Fathom Events’ TCM Big Screen Classics series.
The Graduate stars Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock, an aimless college grad who is seduced by an older family friend, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) before he falls in love with her daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross). The Graduate also stars William Daniels (the future Mr. Feeny on Boy Meets World) and Elizabeth Wilson and features small roles by Norman Fell (Three’s Company) and Bewitched alums Marion Lorne and Alice Ghostley.
Buck Henry, who also makes a cameo as a desk clerk in the film, told Vanity Fair he jumped at the chance to write the script for Nichols.
“I always thought The Graduate was the best pitch I ever heard: this kid graduates college, has an affair with his parents’ best friend, and then falls in love with the friend’s daughter,” the Graduate screenwriter said. “Give that to 20 writers and you’ve got 20 scripts.”
While it’s hard to imagine anyone but Hoffman, Bancroft, and Ross in the lead Graduate roles, an original wish list included Natalie Wood, Ann-Margaret, Jane Fonda, and even Patty Duke as Elaine, while young leading men like Warren Beatty, Steve McQueen, and Robert Redford were on the “Ben” list, Redford actually auditioned opposite Candice Bergen for the Graduate lead.
Hoffman later told Vanity Fair he didn’t even think he was right for The Graduate.
“When I was auditioning for this part I had finally made some inroads in my career,” Hoffman said.
“I was riding high, so I felt that I was going to have a career in the theater, which is what I wanted. So when the part came along, I read the book, I talked to Mike Nichols on the phone, and I said, ‘I’m not right for this part, sir. This is a Gentile. This is a Wasp. This is Robert Redford.'”
Nichols convinced him to audition, and the rest is movie history.
Despite his other inroads, The Graduate was a career-changer for a then-30-year-old Hoffman, and the smash hit movie also earned Nichols an Oscar for Best Director. In addition, the movie sky-rocketed folk-rock duo Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel to superstar status thanks to their work on The Graduate soundtrack, which went to No. 1 and featured the songs “Mrs. Robinson,” “The Sound of Silence,” and “Scarborough Fair.”
Music fans know The Graduate inadvertently led to Simon and Garfunkel’s breakup in at the height of their fame in 1970 when the pair had a falling out over a movie role in Mike Nichols’ next film, Catch-22. Both men were reportedly offered roles in the film, but Simon’s part was cut, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Last year, Simon and Garfunkel’s 1960s hit “The Sound of Silence” had a surprising surge on music charts after the rock band Disturbed covered the Graduate soundtrack song on Conan O’Brien’s late-night show. The song was featured three times in The Graduate, most notably when Dustin Hoffman and Katherine Ross hopped a bus at the end of the film.
The Graduate will screen in more than 700 venues nationwide on Sunday, April 23, and Wednesday, April 26 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. local time.
Take a look at the video below for one of the most memorable scenes from The Graduate.
[Featured Image by MGM]